Book: Immortal LA
Author: Eric Czuleger
Publisher: Eric Czuleger
Genre: Paranormal/Historical Fiction
What a wonderful surprise for a reviewer, to get a book from a new author and find such an original story. Just finished reading this new book, Immortal L.A., written by Eric Czuleger. Eric is an aspiring new voice, just throwing his hat into the writing arena with his first book. I am so glad he sent us a copy to review.
Mr. Czulger begins this story with a mix of historical elements along with his take on the road that Los Angeles has followed ‘to come to be what it is today.’ It took a labor of love by this author to use these many historical bits intertwined with different vignettes, from horror to funny, all with some paranormal elements to achieve this wonderful novel. I must admit, this part of the writing bogged me down a bit, wanting to get on with the stories our author derived from the histories.
Eric uses the premise of the San Andreas Fault being the Gateway to Hell, with the Hollywood Hills as the mass graveyard of Angels...thus good and evil are vying for Los Angeles. Ha, anyone knowing anything about LA...huh??? So true! Just a normal day in the life.
The different stories were incredible. My two favs were the snow storm on the freeway (what are the chances of that in southern Cal?) Where a band of 7 to 8 foot wolves are feeding on the inhabitants of the cars stuck on the frozen road, and you haven't lived until you have read the Devil stopping into his LA Plastic surgeon and friends office for ‘the works”.
I cannot describe the attention to detail this author gives us in the forward histories of California and the growth and changes through the Mexican wars, the pirates off the coast and the movie industry settling there. Wait till you read why southern California has so many sunny days. Again though, I felt it over the top at some times, with me skimming a bit.
Cannot write too much to give away this wonderful book, so I will close with Eric Czuleger, for your first published book you get an A plus. Hope to see you here soon with another great submission.
Review by Gloria Lakritz
Sr Reviewer and review Chair for the Paranormal Romance Guild
Everyone knows where Los Angeles is, they know that stars and everything Hollywood is there, deals are made, lives are impacted, and life is different. What if what everyone knew really wasn’t what everyone knew? Ever wondered why L.A. is called the city of Angels? Is the San Andreas Fault really simply a big ole earthquake waiting to happen? Is there truth to the saying “he sold his soul to the devil” when describing how someone got a plum role/job/career? These questions and more are answered in the rewritten history of L.A. Angels, vampires, ghouls, wolves and Satan himself live in La La land, but you knew that, didn’t you?
Author Eric Czuleger gives us a somewhat tongue in cheek, slightly dark and totally unexpected look at Los Angeles. He tells his story with little vignettes separated by rewritten chapters of the history of L.A. Each vignette circles around the other, each telling one individual’s tale and how it relates to the other. The characters are as different and diverse as they can get, there are angels come to earth, vampires trying to find peace, dead people who just won’t die, a woman out to get where she wants, snow and wolves. Last but not least the man himself, the evil one appears, just wanting to fit in.
The story we are told is an interesting take on the history of L.A. and the people who live there, but I did have a few niggles with it. First, and this is a little niggle, the blurb leads us to think this is going to be a humorous tale, it does start out that way, but soon starts getting darker and darker. I have no problem with dark tales, actually like them, but I think maybe that blurb needs a rewrite.
Second, this is a bigger niggle for me, the little vignettes start out in third person, then switch to first and so on. I’m not a fan of this style; I like my storytelling to be consistent. Third, a medium niggle, some of the portions of the L.A. history were a little dry and I found myself skipping over parts to get to the meat.
Last, a personal niggle, I couldn’t seem to figure out who, when, where and how the history was being rewritten. Have people read this history? If so, wouldn’t they have known of the paranormal activities? Is it just being written to never be released? Background is important to me and I felt a little hung out to dry.
My niggles aside, this was a fun/interesting/different/unusual story that at times had me completely under its spell. Anyone who enjoys a slightly different take on paranormal will enjoy this book; I look forward to seeing what Mr. Czuleger’s mind comes up with next.
Review by Penelope Adams
Member of the Paranormal Romance Guild Review Team
Now that the reviewers have read each other's thoughts...
Hi Penny, I thought this submission was so exciting. I did not put this in my review but Eric is the son of a prize winning author. When we were in New Orleans for the Lestat Ball we met Anne Rice’s son, who has penned his first, and Momma Hen, Ms Rice was beaming. He and Eric join the next generation of aspiring writers who will whet our appetites with new ideas. We both loved the vignettes with their raw tongue and cheek humor, and I saw we both had some issue with the length of the City of Angels histories. I am sure the author felt it was tantamount to the story, but in spots caused my eyes skimming as well.
Yes, it was exciting learning that this author was the son of one of my favorite suspense/mystery writers. I think knowing that set the bar pretty high for him. His mother is such a wonderful author, that my expectations may have been a little too high. Some of the vignettes I liked more than others, I liked the premise of them and the way they were tied into each other. The history was long in places and I’m not sure it was really necessary to the telling of the story, since there was no tie in as to whether it was an open history or not. As I mentioned in my review, the switching from POVs in the vignettes was confusing to me and I would rather that not have taken place.
I think the history did bring out some of the vignettes, and with having no rhyme or reason to the storyline was perfect because there was not any real storyline… I also loved some of the stories better than others, but that’s what makes this so intriguing. This was so original, well written and with the tongue in cheek humor it set this in a class by itself! I had no trouble switching POV’s and had less of a problem than you… What was your favorite vignette???
Hmmm, favorite, I would have to say Angel. I found it amusing that an angel was trying out for a part as an angel. My least favorite was probably the wolves, although I was reading that one while we were having a freak winter storm here in Georgia, and people were trapped on the interstate in Atlanta, in some cases over night. That sent a little woowoo shiver down my spine since it obviously was written long before it actually happened here. A little foreshadowing on the author’s part? I think the author has a lot of potential, and definitely has a “different” sense of humor. I’m looking forward to seeing what he comes up with next.
Good Night, Gracie.
Q&A with Author Eric Czuleger
1. So tell us what gave you the idea for this story?
I was a Peace Corps Volunteer for two years and some change. I'm from Los Angeles originally and for the first time I got to look at the city I grew up in from an outside perspective. From the outside looking in- it's a pretty fascinating city full of some strange strange stuff.
I love the idea that there are communities within communities within communities here. The city is a bit of a behemoth which tends to isolate a lot of people. So, could I be sitting in traffic next to a vampire or buying a cup of coffee from an angel? I hope so. Sometimes, I think the best fiction presents an equally plausible, but more interesting alternative to reality. I mean, you have to do something while waiting in traffic
2. You had to love LA to do this, do you live there?
The funny thing is, before writing this book I would have never claimed to love L.A. Probably the opposite. But after writing this book and living here for six months, yeah- I love this place. Los Angeles, like everywhere else has it's shortcomings. I feel like writing this book helped me love the city for those shortcomings. Yes, there is traffic. Yes, there is smog. No, you can't walk everywhere. But if you dig a little deeper you find a city that moves the world at the same time that it's moved by it.
3. You come from a background of having a mother as an author, did you find this to your advantage or disadvantage?
I've been blessed with a pretty incredible family. Of course, my mother is a pretty darn prolific author. She's been writing books for so long that when I was in first grade I just assumed that all mothers were authors. Seeing her sitting at here computer day in and day out is a great lesson in what writing really is. It's sitting and typing. There is very little artistic agony and ecstasy. It's sitting and typing and having the discipline to just sit and type. She has an incredible work ethic and a passion for good stories. It's been an amazing advantage to have her around.
But I couldn't talk about my mother without the rest of my family. Both my father and my older brother Alex have influenced this book incredibly. My Dad is a huge history buff. Were it not for him, I could never have felt confident to write the history sections of the book. My brother is a manager in Hollywood. He has the unique ability to live and work in Hollywood while still being a normal guy. He does things that I could never do. Instead I write fictional accounts of how Satan produces movies.
My family is pretty rad.
4. What’s next in your bag of tricks?
Oof- Big question. I've got a couple of projects forthcoming. I'm working on a play about UFO culture in America, called "Our Crowded Skies." I went out to Area 51 as well as an Alien Abductee conference for research. Super fun.
I'm going to be working on a shorter Sci-fi piece called "SkyCube." This is my first time dipping a toe into Sci-fi but it's a genre I've always loved. Honestly, I'll take robots and space battles over the next Oprah Book Club selection any day of the week. That may just be me, but I'm stoked to give the genre a try.
The big one I'm researching now started out as a short story in Immortal L.A, it's called Farnoosh. It's a magical realism piece about a Persian woman living in West L.A. who escapes the Iranian revolution. She has had a genie for her entire life, and we follow the three wishes she makes as she tries to reconcile her past and her present. No robots will be involved in this book.
Thank you for joining us Eric
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